tv CNN Presents CNN May 22, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
this time and place to friend and foe alike that the torch has been passed to a new generation of americans. >> you know, i can't help but marvel what a time this has been for patrick kennedy, losing hi father, stepping down from congress, now about to get married and taking on the staggering new mission, the next chapter, of course, still be to be written. really, isn't a new beginning all that any of us could hope for? that does it for patrick kennedy coming clean. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. thanks for watching. ♪ for three decades, mel gibson has defined the world
superstar. >> mel gibson! >> he got out of the gate fast. i mean, you have a good looking guy who could act. >> an actor and academy award winning director and producer whose films have taken in billions at the box office. >> i feel like a hundred bucks. >> mel gibson is probably the most complicated, infuriating, talented star hollywood has ever produced. >> reporter: from "mad max" -- >> don't get mad aat me. >> reporter: to "maverick," "lethal weapon" to "braveheart" he was "what women want" and what men want to be. >> you're like a genius, you know that. >> can i tell you, bud y i'm blessed. >> reporter: but the audience' love affair with mel gibson would take a turn for the worse
on this highway. caught driving drunk, he mouthed off to police. now upstaged by his profanity-laced telephone rant. >> you like a [ bleep ] on heat and if you get raped by a pack of [ bleep ] it will be your fault, all right, because you provoked it. >> reporter: angry slurs at his baby's momma, oksana, but those became the least of his concerns as the actor faced possible domestic violence charges stemming from an altercation with oksana early last year. a drastic depab tour from the film star once known best as a family man and a person of passionate faith. >> people are wondering, was the mel we knew and loved, was that really mel gibson, or is this mel gibson? >> reporter: mel gibson first made noise on january, 1957 56. his by the way announcement reads, a son to mr. and
mrs. hutton gibson of verplank. that's this small river town in upstate new york where the family lived for a few years in this modest home. it still stands just down the road from the catholic congregation of st. patrick where mel's father sang in the choir. gibson was the sixth child in a brood of 11. >> his older brothers and sisters -- >> reporter: writer lawrence got a look at his strict upbringing in an interview with the actor. >> one day the father got so fed up that he grabbed the two of them and knocked their heads together. >> reporter: they're lucky they didn't have to go to the hospital. >> exactly. but mel believes his father had wisdom doing this to his kids. >> reporter: mel's father hutton rooled the roost. a conserves ive cast li s iquef considered priesthood. instead he worked the railroad
until a bad accident put him out of a job and out of a paycheck. >> he started going on game shows. he went on "jeopardy!." >> reporter: hutton would go undefeated and later be invited back for the show's tournament of champions. the winnings, along with $145,000 settlement with new york central railroad, allowed the family to leave america for australia, in part so mel's brother could escape the vietnam draft. >> although his father was in world war ii and even got a purple heart, he was very much against the vietnam war. he said, my sons aren't going to go. >> reporter: 12-year-old mel would have to fight his own battle in school. >> he's a yank, with the american accent. and the kids, you know, tease him and they don't really accept him so easily. >> reporter: one of gibson's coping mechanisms was humor. >> he sort of clowns around a lot, you know. his father tells him, you know, the one thing you'll never do, they don't pay a clown.
>> reporter: mel would prove his father wrong with some unsolicited help from his sister. without his knowledge, she filled out an application for him to attend australia's national institute of dramatic art where an addiction to acting was born. >> yeah, there was a moment where it clicked. it wasn't on stage. it was during the middle of an exercise. it was like being drunk or high. >> reporter: by the page of 20 gibson signed on to play the role of a surfer in his first flick "summer city". >> i might sound stupid but more a way of life, don't you think? >> reporter: on screen his acting ability easily surpassed his surfing skills. >> hopeless. >> reporter: phil aif lon wrote and produced the movie. >> uncoordinated. we had a double for him but because he's a good actor, when it came to him being a surfer, you wouldn't know he wasn't. >> reporter: clearly, mel was not yet a star, making $400 for
a month of filming. just 66 grand to make the movie, the cast and crew slept on mattresses in a hall also used for weddings. for gibson, it was an invitation to trouble. >> mel and his sidekick steve bisly were over this wedding going on for too long so they went to the windows and gave them the moons, which then, you know, heated up the big guys in the -- at the wedding and they chased them off down the road. >> reporter: gibson would soon pay for his bad boy behavior, getting into a bar brawl just before an audition. >> he comes out of it and his eye's falling out, bleeding, all cut up. he said, i'm never going to let that happen again. fy get a chance to punch a guy, i'm going to make sure i punch him enough. >> reporter: next, blockbuster films and another mrobloody bar fight. >> hopkins saw mel's behavior and said, he's going to have to
shape up or he could number a lot of trouble. [ melissa ] i hit the water and everything changed. ♪ i saw what my life could be... and found the strength to make it happen. ♪ i lost my leg serving my country. now i serve in a new uniform. [ male announcer ] helping people achieve without limits. at the hartford it's what we do... and why we're the founding partner of the u.s. paralympic team. show your support at facebook.com/thehartford.
great story telling. at the center of it was this new guy, mel gibson, who was tough and beautiful and captivating. >> look, any longer out on that road and -- you know, a terminal crazy. >> reporter: the film was not a huge box office hit. however, the sequel "the road warrior" was. >> you want to get out of here? you talk to me. >> after the second mad max hits he's picked up by hollywood. he does a film called "the year of living dangerously" with international financing and significant our any weaver is his co-star. >> you're a spook, aren't you? >> if i were, i'd hardly tell you, would i? >> reporter: "the year of living dangerously" won mel gibson more attention from hollywood and from women around the world. he landed on the cover of "playgirl" magazine and then "people" magazine. >> "people" magazine was doing a cover story on mel gibson and
they just sort of suddenly said, wait a minute, let's bill it, sectioniest man alive. and a franchise was born. >> the sexiest man alive, hey. well, it's true, of course. i was just very relieved to read that i wasn't the sexiest man dead. i don't know. that's ridiculous notion, isn't it? is there such a thing? >> reporter: he may have been sexy, he but he wasn't available. before success and fame would find him, mel gibson had married robin moore and started a family. a husband, a father and leading man good looks, mel gibson was admired and adored by his many fans. but in hollywood by the mid-1980s gibson was also becoming known as mad mel with a growing reputation for drinking and getting into trouble. >> anything wrong, sir? >> reporter: like what happened during the filming of "the bounty." >> stop that noise!
>> reporter: what kind of craziness was he into and how did it impact filming? >> well, they're out there in french polynesia. they have time off between shoots. he goes in. they find some bar. and he gets in -- a couple of guys come in and he's in a bar brawl. >> reporter: mel gibson told lawrence grobel about the fight and the aftereffect. >> they came back to set and his face was beaten up. they had-h to shoot him from this side. >> i think your brain has been overheated and overindulled. >> reporter: the cast included anthony hopkins, who expressed concern. >> no more messing with those -- >> hopkins saw mel's behavior and said, he's going to have to shape up or he could number a lot of trouble. >> reporter: the very next year, gibson was arrested for drunk driving while filming "mrs
"mrs. sofel" in toronto. >> he said it was humiliating for him. >> he got roaring drunk one night. the police throw him in the backseat of the car. he starts kicking at the windows, you know, and he's screaming and cursing. and then when they found out it's mel gibson, it's like, can we have your autograph? and drive you back home. they didn't -- so he didn't spend the night in jail. >> as his career took off, mel continued to battle alcoholism, which he's spoke very openly about. while he has not spoken in a lot of detail about when he was in recovery and when he was out of recovery and when he was drinking, when he was not, he has clearly gone back and forth a lot. it didn't stop people from wanting to work with him. people actually enjoyed working with him. >> reporter: gibson declined our request for an interview. in 1985 after making four films in little more than a year, gibson realized he needed a break. >> i wasn't channelling the energy properly. there was too much in the race and i didn't have enough petro
but i was going for the finish line anyway. and i think you just got to make a pit stop every now and then. don't you love these crappy analogies? >> you want to see crazy? now that's a real badge. i'm a real cop. >> reporter: after a year off in australia, gibson returned to hollywood with a bang. in the movie "lethal weapon." >> even though mel was very serious about his acting, he never shied away from doing the action roles. he was very good at it. i think he enjoyed being the tough, macho guy on screen. >> the action roles suit him because he's a guy who seems like he could explode and that's what he does in films. >> do you really want to jump? do you want to? >> reporter: "lethal weapon" became the biggest hit of mel gibson's young career. he was now a full-fledged star. >> there's no way to prepare for it.
in the beginning it's novel. but it's slightly uncomfortable. >> reporter: in 1989 "lethal weapon 2" became an even bigger hit than the original. >> can't you go any faster? >> reporter: there was a third -- >> step on it, there he is. >> reporter: then a fourth. >> who's this joker? >> i don't know. >> spokesman for the nra? >> reporter: the series eventually took in nearly $1 billion worldwide. >> i try to make it fun. if it's not fun to me, it's just not worth it. one has to enjoy one's craft. >> reporter: was that his reputation back then, fun, zainy? >> i think he -- yes, but he also had a reputation of having a temper. richard donners, "lethal weapon "director, talked about that. there was an undercurrent in mel that could be very dangerous, very volatile. >> reporter: he admitted to you he gets pretty dark, pretty bleak sometimes. >> yes, he does.
>> reporter: next, mel, "playboy" and some choice four-letter words. >> he wasn't politically correct about -- in his language and he said what he thought. >> reporter: and later, gibson's passion ignites controversy. >> this film is dangerous for jews all over the world. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible.
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>> reporter: by the early 1990s, mel gibson was hollywood royalty and made the surprising decision to play royalty. >> to be or not to be, that is the question. >> reporter: prince hamlet. >> a king of -- >> it's all there, sex, violence and passion and love and hate. >> i shall anoint myself -- >> we want to make it accessible to an audience. >> if anybody could get butts in the seat to see hamlet, it's probably mel gibson. >> reporter: hamlet was produced by gibson's new company. >> a lot of movie stars don't take control of their career and the incredibly smart, strategic way that mel did. >> reporter: control that included going behind the camera. >> action, nick. >> reporter: gibson made his direct toerl debut in "the man without a face" in which he also
starred. >> just tell me you didn't. i'll believe you. >> no, no sir. i didn't work all summer. >> it's the most fulfilling way of expressing yourself. one can do it in the acting profession, of course, but this is even more so because you have to conceive of a whole story in a way to tell it and a way to show it, you know, with film. >> cut. not bad. >> when he first started directing, he went to clint eastwood and said, how do you do this? he says, you know a lot more than you think you do just from having acted all this time. >> reporter: journalist lawrence grobel spent eight hours interviewing mel gibson for a "playboy" feature. the article was published in july 1995, the summer of "braveheart." >> and action! >> charge! >> reporter: what did you tell you about what drew him to that film? >> mel said it was the script. when he read that script, he
said he read it in one sitting, two hours. that's the way you can tell. he just felt the power of it. >> cross out again and come back in. >> it was such a wonderful script that it just haunted my mind and i began to do something with the script that i've never done before and that is the images began to play out almost shot for shot in my head. >> take our wives, but they'll never take our freedom! >> reporter: gibson produced, directed and starred in this sprawling historical epic. nominated for ten academy awards, the film won five. including best picture and best director. >> i feel like, you know -- that's my wildest expectations come true for this evening. >> reporter: offscreen, gibson's part boy images, a rowdy reputation, due in large part to his drinking, was changing as his wife, robin, pressured him
to stop. the gibsons now had seven children who are kept out of the public eye. >> i'm kind of a household hitler, i suppose. if i can use that word. and, you know, it's our decision they stay away from it until they're old enough. and if they want to be part of it, yeah, okay. but for now, they got to go to school. >> reporter: schooling that could take place anywhere gibson was filming. >> he traveled like an entourage with his family, you know, so he would take his kids and put them into different schools for half a year here, half a year there instead of giving them private tutors. >> throughout the entire interview was cussing like a sailor. did that surprise you? even the "c" word? >> that surprised me. he wasn't politically correct in his language. he said what he thought. >> reporter: gibson's choice of word has gotten him into trouble more than once. in 1991 he made comments about
homosexuals to the spanish newspaper "el pais" which offended gay groups. >> he made remarks which people considered to be home mow phobic. he resisted apologizing for a while but at the end sort of made up with the gay community. >> reporter: gibson later said his quotes were misinterrupted. in the 1995 "playboy" interview gibson again expressed views that raised eyebrows, including his dislike of feminists. >> when he started talk about when men and women being equal and all this, so i asked about your wife. >> reporter: and gibson expounded on conspiracy theories. >> he said, my father told me that whenever a president, lincoln, reagan, kennedy, whenever they tried to do something to do with the economy and the federal reserve, they got taken out. you know, he says, and i can't tell you any more about it because they may kill me when i talk about it. i mean, where does that come
from? i loved it. >> reporter: grobel says gibson also revealed a sillier side of his personality. >> he's got this equipment from "braveheart," an axe, a sword. i pick up the sword, he picks up the axe, we take a picture. i got a sense that mel had a great sense of humor, a zany sense of humor. >> reporter: gibson was known for pulling pranks, such as putting a frozen rat in julia roberts's trailer when they made the movie "conspiracy theory". >> more than one. >> he kept giving it back to me. >> when it would come back i would sort of change his expression and stuff, you know. >> reporter: mel gibson was a superstar. still some roles eluded him. >> the role that he wanted most was am day yus. he wanted to play mozart. >> sign here. >> reporter: and he didn't snag the lead role in steven spielberg's film about a man saving the lives of jews in
world war ii. >> schindler's list where he where he wanted to play schindler. >> reporter: later leading roles get tougher to come by after an audiotape of mel goes viral. >> i'm threatening i'll put you in a [ bleep ] rose garden. you [ bleep ]. i'm capable of it. you understand that? what's this option? that's new. personal pricing now on brakes. tell us what you want to pay. we do our best to make that work. deal! my money. my choice. my meineke. better than any other luxury brand. ♪ intellichoice proclaims that lexus has the best overall value of any brand.
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jeras. the scene at joplin moshgs month, is horrific after a tornado touched down just before 6:00 local time causing damage to buildings, leveling homes and damaging the area hospital. there are many reports of casualties at the scene. we hope to have a live report and more details as they became available. also reports of tornado damage in minneapolis-st. paul earlier this evening. picture to show you of the scene in north minneapolis and the fridley area where a tornado touched down just taking out blocks of homes here and taking down many trees, thousands of people remain without power. one person was killed here and 22 people were injured. the threat of tornadoes remains tonight across parts of minnesota, wisconsin and is stretching down into texas. we'll continue to monitor the situation and break in as necessary. now back to "cnn presents." in 2004, at the height of fame and fortune, mel gibson was
ready to risk it all for a movie that could woo take hollywood by surprise. "the passion of the christ," a film he would produce and direct about the final hours of the life of jesus. >> we knew he was a conservative catholic but we didn't realize the depth of his conviction until we began to know a little more about the movie. this movie was the passion of mel gibson. >> reporter: the majority of the film was written in two nearly dead languages. an idea hollywood found laughable. >> well, on paper, can you imagine the pitch meeting for "the passion of the christ"? >> reporter: he analyzes the box office for hollywood.com. why was it such a huge risk, possibly a career killer, for mel gibson in. >> it was a film no major studio wanted to couch because it was so controversial.
we didn't know how it was going to do at the box office. if people were going to turn away from it or embrace it. mel gibson put everything on the line for that movie. >> reporter: gibson explained why he was willing to risk his reputation and at least $30 million of his own money in an interview with the catholic television network ewtn. >> like most of us, i mean, you get to a point in your life where you're pretty wounded by everything that goes on around you, by your own transgressions, by other people -- just life, it's kind of a scarring thing. so, i used the "the passion" as a meditation of healing myself. >> reporter: faith has always been gibson's foundation. high in the hills near malibu, he built his own catholic church, where mass is said in latin. >> it's long and very solemn and very serious and very heartfelt. >> reporter: journalist christopher knoxen attended a mass at gibson's church in 2003
for a piece in the new york times magazine. how would you describe his brand of katrina lookism? >> traditional catholics, mel included, believe all the sort of liberal reforms that happened in the late '60s were a mistake, were folly, so they're trying to hold onto a version of cathol catholicism that existed long before the modern era. that means women wear headaddresses, that means there's no meat on fridays, that means a very strict and literal interpretation of the bible. >> reporter: he also spent time with mel's father, hutton, a traditionalist catholic, who's written scholarly books like "is the pope catholic "arguing the modern day mass is the shortest, surest route to hell. >> he seems like a grandfatherly type and then his world view is as extreme as anyone i've met. >> reporter: he shared with you a number of conspiracy theories.
what did he tell you? >> he believed that the world trade center bombings were a conspiracy, that there was no way the holocaust could have happened the way they said it did, there were more jews living in europe after the holocaust than before. i never, for once, thought that hutton's views were automatically and naturally shared by mel. >> reporter: hutton did not respond to our request for an interview. what is clear, however, is mel and his father share a deep conviction in their traditionalist catholic faith. >> incredibly passionate men. >> reporter: father william worked inta matly with gibson during the making of "the passion of the christ" translating the script. >> during the editing process i would frequently meet in his office usually on a friday afternoon. and i would say mass for him. and for him it was a deeply spiritual experience. it was for me as well.
>> reporter: was he going through a spiritual crisis at the time? >> in the last maybe 20 years, at one of the artistic thing mel is struggling with is also a personal struggle, which is, does suffering have a redemptive value? and i think this is -- this theme is if all his recent movies, certainly in "braveheart" the man at the height of suffering screams "freedom". >> freedom! >> that's something he says about himself, he seeks freedom even in the middle of personal suffering and doubt. >> reporter: do you think he personally identified in a way with jesus and the crucifixion? >> oh, i think mel did very much identify with jesus and the crucifixion. i think it largely reflects his own experience of the early '90s, he was caught in an addiction, and he thought not not so much as he reached up to god, he felt god reached down to him. >> reporter: as they worked on "the passion of the christ"
controversy began to brew. >> this film is dangerous for jews all over the world. >> the criticism began to roll in and be magnified in the press before we even had the script finished. >> reporter: gibson's critics accused him of being anti-semitic. rabbi saw the film and was troubled by gibson's portrayal of the jews. >> he portrays them in "the passion of christ" as blood-tlisy individuals to make sure christ is crucified. >> reporter: gibson defend himself in his interview with ewtn. >> are you antisee mettic? >> of course not. if i was, i wouldn't be working this town with the people i've worked with for so many years nor would they want to work with me. it's ludicrous. >> reporter: before the film was released, gibson held screenings for hand-picked audiences, mostly consisting of catholics and evangelical christians.
>> mel is great, very honest and a committed believer in christ. >> reporter: the strategy worked. "the passion" smashed box office records, taking in $370 million in the u.s. alone. more than a half billion worldwide. >> it was a huge risk. it turned out, though, to be one of the biggest grossing r-rated movies of all time and mel gibson looked like a genius because he became up with film. they put it out at the right time and it did huge numbers. >> i'm pleased as punch. >> reporter: following his passion may have paid off. but he would soon face new accusations of anti-semitism. >> he said something like, jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. ♪ [ male announcer ] in 2011, at&t is at work, building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download,
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>> reporter: mel gibson was a man of many faces. award-winning actor and director, respected family man and devout catholic. but on july 28, 2006, mel's bad boy side reemerged. >> melg gibson was out drinking in malibu, which was a surprise because the public thought that mel had stopped drinking. >> reporter: after that booze-filled binge at the local hangout moon shadows, he got behind the wheel.
just after 2 a.m., gibson was pulled over for speeding on the pacific coast highway. after failing a breathalyzer teshgs he got belligerent, launching into an anti-semitic tyrant. >> he said something like, jus are responsible for all the wars in the world. >> reporter: tmz.com acquired a copy of the handwritten arrest report detailing mel's racist rant. it was deja vu for gibson. fighting allegations of anti-semitism again, as de with "the passion of the christ." when the news of his arrest and his words became public, what was hollywood's reaction? >> well, hollywood got really scared in general. it went beyond just a
for divorce citing irreconcilable difference. it-t reveals they had separated years earlier, in 2006, just after gibson's notorious dui arrest. gibson's family man image was shattered. less than three weeks after the divorce announcement, he stepped out publicly for the first time with russian-born singer oksana grigorieva. in an interview with cnn's larry king, oksana denied she had anything to do with the divorce. >> do you ever feel you caused the breakup? >> he explained to me over and over again that it was not the reason they separated, since 2006 for sure, and they were very unhappy prior to that. >> reporter: the couple soon announced they were expecting a baby. >> there's another dichotomy of
mel gibson. he was this very strikt catholic with very, very strict views and yet he was having a child out of we had lock. >> reporter: and also signed oksana to his record label. his production company produced and financed her music videos. >> he conceived, directed and produced four videos. they're like miniature dramatic movies. ♪ yes i would do anything >> i'm just incredibly grateful. >> he was a man in love. i mean, there's no other reason he would have directed that video then. he was a man in love. ♪ just one night >> reporter: but that passionate love affair would turn very ugly. very fast. >> he hit me with a fist. he hit me twice very fast. [ man ] i got this new citi thankyou card
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how dare you? >> it's scary. it's shocking. it's something that if somebody told you about it, you probably wouldn't believe it until you heard it about your own ears. >> reporter: radar online executive vice president and managing editor played the recordings for me. >> i knew these tapes were going to be explosive, that america was going to listen to these tapes and be riveted by them and disgusted by them. >> what? what? are you threatening me? >> nothing, nothing. i'm not the one to threaten. >> i'm threatening. i'll put you in a [ bleep ] rose garden, you [ bleep ]. you understand that? cause i'm capable of it. you understand that? >> the language mel uses on the tape is extremely profane. >> you look like a [ bleep ] on
heat and if you get raped by a pack of [ bleep ] it will be your fault, all right? because you provoked it. >> reporter: in an interview with deadline.com, gibson pressed regret over the tapes. i've never treated anyone badly or in a discriminatory way based on their gender, race, religion or sexuality, period. i don't blame some people for thinking that, though, from the garbage they heard on those leaked tapes, which have been edited. it's one terribly awful moment in time, said to one person, in the span of one day and doesn't represent what i truly believe or how i've treated people my entire life. so how were these tapes leaked? >> well, everybody wants to know how radar got the tapes, but we're not telling. it was hard investigative work and everyone wants to know if oksana was paid. she was not paid. >> reporter: she denies releasing the tapes but she did tell cnn's larry king why she
made them. >> he called me 30 times. i only recorded eight conversations. he called every five, ten minutes. >> you were taping him in the thought you'd be killed and you wanted the world to hear this? >> i wanted my mother to prove that if i'm dead, this is who did it. >> reporter: in one tape oksana brings up gibson's alleged assault. >> you were hitting a woman with a child in her hands. you. what kind of man is that? hitting a woman when she's holding a child in her hands, breaking her teeth twice in the face. what kind of man is that? >> oh, you're all angry now. >> you're going to get to -- you know what? >> [ bleep ] deserved it. >> you're going to answer, one day, boy. you're going to answer. >> it's not simply the tapes that bowlster oksana's claim. she also went to a dentist following an alleged incident. that dentist took photographs and made certain notations indicating he saw what could amount tore injuries. >> reporter: for his part, gibson claims oksana demanded
money for withholding recordings of the conversations. >> it's all about my daughter. >> i never threatened him. i walked on $15 million of what he was offering me to wash his hands on domestic violence, sign this agreement. >> reporter: the separated couple battled it out here at los angeles superior court. grigorieva alleged domestic abuse while gibson alleged extortion. both sides filed restraining orders and state officials launched investigations into their claims. meanwhile, the two are also locked in a fierce child custody battle over lucia. >> you have a family law issue, a family court issue. who gets custody, who pays child support, who sees the child when. >> reporter: jim is covering the court proceedings for inside edition. >> and then you have a separate issue, a criminal issue, of an extortion claim and a separate issue of domestic violence. >> reporter: shortly after the tapes went viral, gibson was
dropped from his talent agency william morris endeavor and what was likely to be billed as a comeback cameo proved yet another setback when gibson was cut from the cast of "the hangover 2". >> the cast got together and said, we don't want to work with him. >> reporter: paul is a leading movie industry analyst. what will it take for him to make a comeback and be the mel gibson of old that everybody loved and adored? >> i don't think he can ever be the mel gibson of old, but i think the directing would be a big thing for him. this is a guy -- obviously, a terrific film maker. behind the scenes i think he could resurrect his career as a great director. >> reporter: a magnet for controversy, gibson has burned a lot of bridges, but old friends like jodie foster are sticking by his side. >> he has this incredible combination of being able to be witty and light and loveable in some ways but has a darker side, obviously. >> reporter: foster gave gibson a leading role and directed him
in her most recent film "the beaver." >> i'm is zik do you want to get better? >> who are you? >> i'm the beaver. i'm here to save your damn life. >> reporter: gibson plays a drowning and depressed family man who resorts to communicating through a beaver hand puppet. >> i knew that he would understood the drama of the film and understand walter's struggle, you know, and understand it from a really deep and authentic place. >> reporter: the indie film was scheduled for a 2010 release but after gibson's head-line grabbing controversy, it was delayed until this spring. the question now, will gibson help or hurt the film? >> it was definitely hard to find the right time to bring this movie out. it's been pushed back a few times. i hope people will see his performance and understand -- understand him a little better. >> reporter: gibson's personal future is also up in the air. in march he pled no contest to a
battery charge stemming from the altercation with oksana. as part of the agreement, gibson would avoid jail time. in a statement to cnn, the actor's attorney, blair burke said, mel's priority throughout all of this has been that the best interest of his young daughter lucia and the rest of his children be put first in any decisions made. it is with only that in mind that he asked me to approach the district attorney with a proposal that would bring all of this to an immediate end. meanwhile, gibson's child custody case with oksana continues. mel gibson, long ago, cemented his superstar status in america. but today the actor and director finds himself with more drama offscreen than on. no longer considered an a-lister, he hasn't worked on a high-profile film since 2006. will gibson be remembered as a hollywood legend or as a